Ishveen Anand

She carved out a niche in sports marketing, a business few women have broken into.

New YorkNY 
The Platform Economy
 Photo Credit: Courtesy subject

At age 34, Ishveen Anand already has a decade of experience working in the world of professional sports, but investors still doubt her when she pitches her sports marketing startup, OpenSponsorship. “I’m of Indian origin, I’m British, I’m female, I’m young,” she says. “When I walk in and I’m like, ‘Hey, we’re changing how brands work with NFL players,’ they’re like, ‘Really? Are you?’” Five years in, Anand is proving that her concept—a two-way marketplace that lets brands and athletes find each other for endorsement opportunities—can work. She’s also proving that she’s the right woman for the job: OpenSponsorship has been profitable since 2017, with revenue of $1.1 million last year, and recently inked its highest-profile client yet, alcohol giant Anheuser-Busch—all off $1.3 million in seed funding. Anand aimed to show profits as quickly as possible because, as a woman operating in a male-dominated industry, she knew that investors and clients alike wanted to see more from her than the potential for success. “Any room I get into, they’re always going to ask for another data point,” she says. “And I know I’m going to have to give it.” --Cameron Albert-Deitch